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Filming the television series “The Bachelorette” in Sweden.

Nice Entertainment Group

An attractive Nordic market structure combined with strong growth potential for the TV production industry were the key drivers behind CapMan’s decision to acquire the Finnish television production company Moskito Television ("Moskito") in 2008. Since the acquisition, CapMan has supported the company’s expansion across the Nordic region. During the past four years, it has grown to become the largest independent television production group operating in Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Norway.

Moskito was originally part of the Finnish publishing group Talentum, but was considered a non-core asset by the group’s management. Following proprietary discussions with CapMan, Talentum agreed to sell the business in January 2008 to Nice Entertainment Group (“Nice” or “Nice Group”), a company jointly owned by CapMan Buyout VIII fund and Moskito's management team. As Moskito was already a very well established player in the industry, it was easy to attract other talented entrepreneurs to join the Nice Group. Only four months after signing the deal Nice acquired the leading Norwegian production company Monster AS. “From the beginning our goal was to create a pan-Nordic content production business. Therefore, we had potential Nordic add-on candidates in mind already before completing the acquisition of Moskito”, says Olli Liitola, Senior Partner at CapMan Buyout in charge of the investment. “Monster was an excellent fit with Nice as both companies were trailblazers in their respective markets”, Liitola continues.

The next step in the Nordic expansion strategy was taken in 2009 when Danish start-up production company Gong joined the Nice Group. Later in the same year the acquisition of Finnish Production House was completed followed by Swedish Baluba in 2010. Each of the companies in the group continued to operate independently, as strong local brands, but benefited from group-wide synergies in e.g. purchasing and distribution. “Production business is ultimately local and therefore it was essential that the individual companies retained their own brands and an entrepreneurial spirit even after becoming part of a larger group”, Liitola explains. For CapMan, it has also been crucial that the entrepreneurs of the individual companies as well as key managers have taken ownership positions in the group.

Nice further strengthened its position in the Nordic market in 2011 through the acquisition of Swedish television production company Titan Group. With complementing program formats and customer mix Titan was a perfect addition to the group.

The Nordic buy-and-build strategy has been very successful and Nice is today the leading independent player in the Nordic television production market. During CapMan’s ownership the group’s turnover has increased from approximately €20 million to more than €100 million in 2011. CapMan has acted as a catalyst for the add-ons, identifying the suitable targets and supporting the group in the integration work.

Going forward, CapMan and the management’s key focus is on further strengthening the group’s position in its current markets. “Nice Group is very well positioned to grow organically in the Nordic region during the following years. We have developed a systematic approach towards project management, attracting top talent and developing program formats. We look forward to fully capitalising on cross-selling opportunities throughout the Nordic region and to target international markets”, Liitola says.

Read more: www.thisisnice.com